According to BusinessWeek, Facebook access has been restored in Pakistan following a correspondence from Facebook wich assures that “no blasphemous material will be available to users in Pakistan.” In other words, Facebook will block access to groups, such as the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” to those users who are based in Pakistan. If true, this means Facebook has caved to pressure from the country after users were denied access for almost two weeks.
The only question now is whether or not Facebook will make similar concessions in Bangladesh, which blocked access to the site over the weekend. Facebook’s decision to censor content within Pakistan will no doubt make some individuals question how often Facebook will make exceptions that cater to the cultural norms of other countries.
We’ve reached out to Facebook for comment and will update this once we hear back. Facebook has over 2.3 million users in Pakistan, all of whom were not able to access the service for an extended period of time. Right now it appears as though the “Everybody Draw Mohammed Day” group has been removed from Facebook as the only groups we can find are in protest of the group.
Facebook previously stated that they had not pulled the group. Instead, the administrator of the group pulled the group. Whether or not new replacement groups and Pages pop-up, don’t expect to see these groups in Pakistan anytime soon.
Here’s the comment that Facebook provided to us:
When dealing with user generated content on global websites, there are occasions where content that is illegal in one country is not (or may even be protected) in another. For example, Nazi content is illegal in some countries, but that does not mean it should be removed entirely from Facebook. Most companies approach this issue by preventing certain content from being shown to users in the countries where it is illegal and that is our approach as well.
After reviewing the situation, including information from the Government of Pakistan that confirms Pakistani law in this area, we decided to prevent the ‘Everybody Draw Mohammed Day’ page from being viewed by users in Pakistan out of respect for local standards and customs. We have not removed the content from Facebook, although some pages may have been removed by their creators, but have only restricted access to it from certain countries out of respect for local rules. We are delighted that our users in Pakistan can now access Facebook again.